BRITISH COLUMBIA OPEN UNIVERSITY
BRITISH COLUMBIA OPEN UNIVERSITY
Courses and Programs Overview The British Columbia Open University (BCOU) offers courses and programs at three levels: adult basic education, college, and university. Credentials awarded include adult secondary school completion, certificates, diplomas, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and one master’s degree (doctoral degrees are not available at this time). BCOU delivers over 200 distance courses of its own. Consortium partners—Simon Fraser University (SFU), the University of British Columbia (UBC), and the University of Victoria (UVic)—deliver over 300 courses. Other courses and programs are offered in co-operation with various educational institutions, professional associations, workplaces, and community organizations.
Most universities, community colleges, provincial institutes, businesses, industries, and professional associations recognize the credits earned through BCOU courses and programs. Continuous Course Registration Most distance courses delivered by BCOU are offered on a continuous basis, so students may register throughout the year. Labs, clinicals, selected classroom offerings, and some paced courses have fixed start dates (see below). Varied Course Delivery Formats BCOU-delivered courses are offered in the following formats: • Print-based—Course is print-based. Some print- based courses may have optional Web content and/or Web interaction.
Internet access is not required to complete the course.
• Web-based—Course is Web-based. Most Web- based courses have some printed materials. All Web-based courses have mandatory Web content, and most have Web student-to-student interaction. Internet access is required to complete the course. • In Person—Course is delivered face-to-face in a classroom setting or as a lab, clinical, workshop, or fieldwork. Not all delivery formats are offered for each course. Course materials may include audiocassettes, DVDs, videos, or computer disks. Tutor Support/Contact Choice Students registered in courses delivered at a distance by BCOU receive instructional support from highly qualified tutors.
Students can communicate with their tutor by email, phone, or regular mail for most courses and also by electronic conference for paced courses. Flexible Course Scheduling Most distance courses delivered by BCOU are designed for students to complete within a specified time frame at a place and pace that suit their needs. Some print-based and Web-based courses are offered as paced where a group of students works through the course together. Courses offered as paced have specific start and end dates. Students start the course at the same time, submit assignments (and project examinations when appropriate) by specific due dates, and write their final examination at a pre-determined session.
Extensions are limited and granted only for exceptional circumstances. Professional associations recognizing credentials earned through BCOU include: Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC Appraisal Institute of Canada, BC Association of Administrative Assistants Association of Tourism Professionals Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators Canadian Healthcare Association Canadian Institute of Management Canadian Payroll Association Certified General Accountants Association Certified Management Accountants Society of BC College of Dental Hygienists of BC College of Licensed Practical Nurses of BC College of Physical Therapists of BC Credit Union Institute of Canada Institute of Canadian Bankers Institute of Chartered Accountants Institute of Chartered Secretaries Association Municipal Officers’ Association Purchasing Management Association of Canada Real Estate Institute of BC Registered Nurses Association of BC BRITISH COLUMBIA OPEN UNIVERSITY 1
SERVICES FOR STUDENTS 2 WEB www.bcou.ca EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org Educational Advising and Planning Student Services advisors can answer questions concerning prerequisites and entrance requirements to specific programs, transfer credit, challenge credit, assessment of informal credit, preliminary program planning, course sequencing, and course selection. Information is provided for students who need help with study skills or other education- related concerns. Refer to the BCOU Website or contact Student Services.
Information is provided on the BCOU Website at to help students start and continue successfully as distance learners.
A self-test is included that prospective students can take to assist in determining if distance learning fits their lifestyle. Students considering completing a program through BCOU should identify a program of interest to them and contact Student Services to: • Review and confirm educational goals. • Clarify the process for receiving credit for previous formal and non-formal learning. • Confirm how to apply for program admission. After a student has received the program admission confirmation (including evaluation details), a program advisor is available to assist with selecting courses required to complete the program.
In some cases students may use certificate, diploma, or associate degree studies toward a university degree.
Not all courses needed to complete certain programs are offered through BCOU. In many cases, students take courses at other post-secondary institutions with a Letter of Permission to complete program requirements. Degree programs offered in association with institutions outside BC may specify fees that vary according to the relationship of BCOU with a particular institution. Students completing a college-level program with BCOU are awarded an Open College credential. Students completing a university-level program with BCOU are awarded a British Columbia Open University credential.
Financial Aid and Awards BCOU’s Financial Aid and Awards service helps students access institutional and government financial assistance.
Refer to pages 15–17. Learning Evaluation and Advising Program (LEAP) BCOU’s Learning Evaluation and Advising Program (LEAP) is available for those who wish to have their previous learning evaluated and require assistance in choosing an academic program. Anyone may apply for LEAP, including students of BCOU and other post-secondary institutions as well as those considering a return to school. LEAP is designed to help people from various backgrounds choose an academic path.
Applicants submit documentation of their previous learning for examination by a BCOU program advisor. As LEAP is not a BCOU credential, applicants do not receive a certificate. Applicants receive a report outlining any potential transfer credit to BCOU and suggesting options for reaching their academic goal(s). The LEAP report provides applicants with a preliminary assessment of their past learning, an estimate of the number of credits for any completed coursework, and options for best reaching their academic goals, based on their past experience and education.
LEAP applicants are not obligated to follow one of the academic programs suggested on the report.
The LEAP report is used as a guide for those uncertain about how to reach their academic goals. Applicants are required to submit the LEAP application form with the LEAP fee and their educational documents to BCOU Admissions. The LEAP application form is available on the BCOU Website and from Student Services. Applicants should receive their LEAP reports approximately two to four weeks from the date that BCOU receives all required documentation. If a LEAP applicant applies to a BCOU program within six months from the date of the LEAP report, the LEAP fee is deducted from their program plan fee.
For more information, refer to the BCOU Website or contact Student Services. First Nations Learning Centres In its commitment to First Nations learners, BCOU has assisted in establishing community-based First Nations Learning Centres across the province. At these centres, First Nations students learn at their own pace in a setting that is in tune with their culture and their own communities. BCOU’s partner First Nations Learning Centres offer Adult Basic Education (ABE) upgrading courses and programs, business and other college courses, and some university-level courses.
SERVICES FOR STUDENTS 3 PHONE 604.431.3300 1.800.663.9711 Proficiency in English Requirements Students are required to have proficiency in English suitable for the course level.
• BCOU’s college and university courses require post-secondary English reading and writing skills. • Students registering for courses that do not specify prerequisites beyond English 12 should have sufficient English proficiency if they meet one of the following requirements (provided as a guideline): Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Computer Based Test (CBT) with a minimum score of 250 (600 on the paper-based test), or TOEFL CBT with a minimum score of 230 (570 on the paper-based test) and a minimum essay (TWE) score of 4.5, or Language Proficiency Index (LPI) Level 5 with a minimum score of 30/40 on the essay section, or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum score of 6.5.
Students who have not obtained the required proficiency in English for the course level should discuss their plans with a Student Services advisor before registering.
English and Mathematics Assessments For students wanting to upgrade their English or mathematics skills, there are voluntary assessments available to help determine skill levels. • The English Language and Writing Assessment can help students choose an English course at the level best suited to their needs. Students who have been away from formal studies for some time are encouraged to make use of an English assessment. This assessment is available only to students residing in Canada. • An English assessment with First Nations content is available for First Nations students. • The Mathematics Self-Assessment helps students select a mathematics course at the correct level.
To order an assessment, contact Student Services. Language Proficiency Index (LPI) Score and Required Level of Study LPI score levels and the corresponding levels of college-level and university-level English recommended are listed below. Level 6 Enrol in first-year university course, e.g., ENGL 100 or 102, or college-level ENGL 107 if suitable for student’s goals. Level 5 (with minimum score of 30/40 on essay section) Enrol in first-year university course, e.g., ENGL 100 or 102, or college-level course suitable for student’s goals.
Level 4 Enrol in college-level ENGL 106 or (ABE) ENGL 030.
Level 3 and Below Remedial English is required—discuss level with a Student Services or program advisor. Language Testing Resources LPI, a provincially recognized assessment, is available for a fee from UBC’s Applied Research and Evaluation Services. Phone 604.822.4145 or refer to the UBC Website at . More information about English language testing is provided on the following Websites: • www.ielts.org • www.toefl.org Notice to Students Most courses and programs offered by BCOU have Canadian content. Though some select courses may be offered in other languages, the language of business at BCOU is English, and therefore services are provided in English.
BCOU will assist students with any questions or problems that may arise concerning the interpretation of academic regulations. It is, however, the responsibility of students to ensure that their academic programs meet the regulations of a particular institution in all respects.
SERVICES FOR STUDENTS 4 WEB www.bcou.ca EMAIL email@example.com SERVICES FOR STUDENTS Disability Services Office Students with a disability can contact the Disability Services Office (DSO) to discuss available services. Services provided by DSO may include: • Course material and BCOU publications in alternative formats, e.g., electronic or large print • Referrals for adaptive technology and equipment • Special arrangements and modification for examinations (refer to the policy on page 27) • Advice on specialized tutoring, depending on eligibility • Disability-related general guidance and support Adaptive equipment or materials take time to arrange.
Therefore, students are advised to indicate their intention to register a minimum of ten weeks before their intended course start date. Verification of disability is required to receive services from DSO. The types of services available may be different for students residing outside British Columbia and for students taking courses delivered by SFU, UBC, or UVic.
Students requiring services should self-identify at the time of course registration or program admission or contact DSO. ■ Disability Services Office (DSO) firstname.lastname@example.org 604.431.3043 or 1.800.663.1663, ext. 3043 (toll-free in Canada) Student Library Services Library and information services are provided to all students currently registered in courses delivered by BCOU. Services are accessible via the Web, by phone, fax, email, regular mail, and in person at the BCOU Library, 4355 Mathissi Place, Burnaby, BC. Electronic, print, and video resources are available through the BCOU Library. Some of the core services provided to students include: • Access to skilled librarians who provide research assistance • Database searching assistance • Access to electronic full-text and citation databases • Access to BCOU’s library collection • Access to SFU’s collection of books and periodicals • Access to the resources of other libraries through interlibrary loan • Study skills resources • Delivery of non-returnable items to any location • Delivery of returnable items to many locations (some restrictions apply; contact the library for information) • Toll-free phone access for students residing in Canada • Library cards for local libraries by request Students registered in courses delivered by SFU, UBC, or UVic acquire library services through the institution delivering the course.
Students are responsible for all charges associated with overdue or lost library materials. Official transcripts are withheld until charges are cleared. ■ BCOU Library http://library.bcou.ca email@example.com 604.431.3403 or 1.800.663.1699 (toll-free in Canada) Fax 604.431.3362
ADMISSION 5 PHONE 604.431.3300 1.800.663.9711 Open Admission All persons are eligible for general admission to BCOU and can apply for registration in courses and admission to programs. Differential fees and services may apply to applicants who are not permanent residents of British Columbia.
Applicants do not require a specific grade point average (GPA) and are not required to submit transcripts from secondary school to be admitted to BCOU and to register in courses. Permanent Residents of British Columbia A permanent resident of British Columbia is defined as a person who resides in British Columbia and possesses Canadian citizenship or permanent resident (landed immigrant) status. International Students An international student is defined as a person (a) who does not possess Canadian citizenship, or (b) who is not classified as a permanent resident of Canada under Canadian immigration regulations.
Non-Canadian students who are temporarily resident in Canada are eligible to enrol in courses and programs provided all Employment and Immigration Canada regulations have been fulfilled. Categories include but are not limited to those on a student, visitor, or work authorization visa. Non-Canadian students who are currently enrolled at another post-secondary institution in Canada are eligible to take courses, but are not eligible to enrol in programs unless the program is offered in partnership with the institution they are attending. Normally, BCOU coursework cannot be used to establish or extend a student authorization (student visa).
Requirements • Applicants to specific programs are required to fulfill program admission requirements. • Applicants registering in courses must declare that they have the required course prerequisites. Students who provide a false declaration may be subject to penalties under the student conduct policy (refer to pages 18–20). • Applicants must have proficiency in English at a level suitable to the course or program of study for which they are applying. University-level courses require English proficiency equivalent to Grade 12 English or higher. While most BCOU courses and programs do not require any particular English proficiency tests, prospective students who have English as a second language may be asked to provide information concerning their proficiency in English (refer to page 3).
Admission to a Program Students who plan to complete a credential with BCOU must complete and submit the BCOU Program Admission/Transfer Credit form, provided at the end of this calendar and on the BCOU Website. Students may also apply for program admission on the Post-secondary Application Service of BC (PASBC) Website at . Students who have taken only courses previously with BCOU and now want to complete a program must apply for program admission. Where BCOU offers degree programs in association with institutions outside BC, fees may vary according to BCOU’s relationship with a particular institution.
Transferring Credit from Other Institutions Students who want to apply to receive formal transfer credit for courses and programs completed elsewhere should follow these procedures: • Identify the BCOU program to be completed. Applicants unsure about program choices may want to consider BCOU’s Learning Evaluation and Advising Program (LEAP) (refer to page 2). • Read all the rules and regulations pertaining to transfer credit and admission requirements of the selected program.
• Apply for program admission by completing and submitting the Program Admission/Transfer Credit form, with the program plan fee and transfer credit assessment fee. • Arrange to have official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended sent directly to BCOU Admissions by the registrar’s office of the post-secondary institution(s) where the program or courses were completed. Documents from outside Canada may need to be evaluated by an accredited international credential evaluation service such as .
• Provide additional supporting documentation with the application, particularly if the coursework is over seven years old or if the course(s) were completed outside BC.
BCOU begins the assessment of formal education on receipt of all three of the following: (1) completed Program Admission/Transfer Credit form; (2) full payment of the program plan fee and assessment of transfer credit fee; and (3) official transcripts of all post-secondary studies. Results of the assessment and outline of a program plan are sent to students.
ADMISSION 6 WEB www.bcou.ca EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org Program Plans A program plan is the record of a student’s progress toward a credential (certificate, diploma, degree). Upon application to a program, a program plan is prepared by a BCOU academic program advisor when the applicant’s official transcripts and applicable fees have been received and transfer credits have been assessed (minimum of four weeks is required for processing). Students pay a fee for each program plan prepared (refer to page 12). A program plan shows the following: (1) requirements for the program; (2) student’s transfer credit; and (3) remaining credits required for program completion.
Remaining credits may be earned through coursework or prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR) (by course challenge or portfolio assessment) or a combination of both. Students should consult with their program advisor prior to registering in a course to ensure that the course satisfies program requirements. Students registering in courses without prior approval from an advisor bear the responsibility for taking courses that may not be applicable to program requirements. Students admitted to a BCOU program who plan to take a course from an institution other than BCOU must first apply for a Letter of Permission.
One Letter of Permission per semester, per institution is required for such courses. Students who do not obtain a Letter of Permission risk taking a course that may not be transferable as suitable credit to their BCOU program and are required to pay the transfer credit fee.
To have their program plan updated, students are responsible for notifying their program advisor that additional courses have been completed and final grades assigned. For courses taken through the Letter of Permission process, the program plan is updated when BCOU receives official transcripts detailing course completion from the external institution. Students are responsible for ordering these transcripts. Students wanting to change to a different program must consult with their program advisor. Intention to change programs must be confirmed in writing (email is acceptable). Upon written confirmation, a program plan for the new program is prepared.
A fee is charged for a program plan change (refer to page 12).
Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) Students who have been admitted to or who plan to apply for admission to a BCOU program may be eligible for credit based on an assessment of their non-formal or prior learning. PLAR credit may be used to complete their credential. Prior learning includes the skills and knowledge gained through learning experiences such as industry-based training, professional development workshops and seminars, private study, and work experience. (Students who have completed formal courses and programs must apply for transfer credit assessment before having their non-formal learning assessed.) Normally, BCOU assesses prior learning in one of two ways—challenge examination or prior learning assessment portfolio.
Challenge Examination Students may write one or more challenge examinations to demonstrate knowledge of the content of a particular BCOU course or of a first language (refer to page 190). The amount of credit awarded is the same as completing the course as a registered student. Students are required to register in the course and pay the course tuition and course administration fees in order to write a course challenge examination. Contact Student Services for more information. Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio Students demonstrate that their prior learning has provided them with a series of “competencies” (such as communication abilities or problem- solving abilities) that are critical for success in completion of a degree.
Students are required to prepare and submit a learning portfolio with written documents and other materials (e.g., videos, compact discs) and may be required to have an oral interview.
The non-refundable PLAR fee is required in advance. Note PLAR portfolio assessment varies by program area. Details are provided by each program area. Normally, PLAR credit awarded by BCOU toward a BCOU credential cannot be transferred to other post-secondary institutions. PLAR credit may not be accepted for admission to post-degree programs. Students are advised to confirm the transferability and acceptance of PLAR credit to another institution prior to applying for PLAR. Refer to PLAR policies on pages 22–23 and to the PLAR Website at .